Happy hours in Bali

From slinky bars to warungs with the works, there are cool drink­ing joints ga­lore in Seminyak and sur­rounds

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SEMINYAK is Bali’s party cen­tral but its cock­tail crown is by no means welded in place.

Coastal neigh­bours such as Jim­baran are also com­pet­ing for the mar­tini crowd with new and ever more groovy ho­tel and re­sort bars and clubs. Rock Bar, Ayana, Jim­baran: This five- star clifftop re­sort, about 10km from Den­pasar air­port, was opened as the Ritz-carl­ton in 1996 and re­branded Ayana in 2009. It’s a favourite of the Ja­panese mar­ket but its ocean’s- edge Rock Bar tran­scends any par­tic­u­lar niche and is as pop­u­lar with vis­i­tors as with re­sort guests.

The open-top bar, perched 14m above the water in a square con­fig­u­ra­tion on two lev­els and sur­rounded by sus­pended ter­races, is reached by in­cli­na­tor car. Queues can be long (re­sort guests have pri­or­ity) and the car car­ries j ust four pas­sen­gers, so tim­ing is every­thing. Get there be­fore sun­set (I sug­gest in ad­vance of 5pm) and leave early (re­turn queues can be equally as long).

It is a madly hip spot, with a DJ, ta­pas plates and good snacks, gen­er­ously poured mo­ji­tos in flavours such as blue­berry and, nat­u­rally, drinks of all stripes served on the rocks.

Sit on stools at the front bar, on cane lounges built for two on the up­per level, on chairs by the low glass walls that wrap around the main cube, or at ta­bles on the ( oc­ca­sion­ally sea- splashed) ter­races. More: ayanare­sort.com. Ku De Ta, Seminyak: Still the must-go j oint for the likes of ly­chee-tinis or ‘‘ spiked shakes’’ (choco­late and rum; vanilla and bour­bon) as the sun goes down. Ku Te Da is a clas­sic beach club fea­tur­ing a breezy restau­rant with food mas­ter­minded by NZ ex­ec­u­tive chef Philip Daven­port; it opens for break­fast, lunch and din­ner, but many of the cool crowd go just for early-evening cock­tails or late-night drinks.

There are res­i­dent mixol­o­gists, loungey gar­den fur­ni­ture and beach­side perches as well as an up­stairs bar. It’s a bit Mi­ami, a tri­fle Ibiza, and all good fun. More: kudeta.net. Wre­treat & Spa Bali, Seminyak: This freshly opened Seminyak ho­tel, from the chic W chain, is home to the buzzing Woo Bar (right by the beach, just along from Potato Head). It’s a pool club by day but, as the sun slips away, think: bean­bags, hec­tic dance floor, the is­land’s best DJS, ex­trav­a­gant chan­de­liers, ceil­ing fans mod­elled on helicopter pro­pel­lers and drinks ta­bles shaped and tex­tured like coral for­ma­tions.

There are three floors of space for ‘‘mix­ing, min­gling and chill­ing out’’. Try the Shisha & Shawarma menu, a se­lec­tion of cock­tailin­spired shisha (flavoured to­bacco smoked in a hookah) paired with slow- roasted lamb or chicken shawarma and a sun­set cock­tail. It’s a look-at-me scene, loud and lively, al­most un­rea­son­ably hip. More: who­tels.com/bal­iseminyak. Potato Head, Seminyak: Get past the de­cid­edly odd name of this off­shoot of Potato Head Jakarta and chill out at this lat­est ad­di­tion to the Seminyak beach beat. The switched-on Luxe City Guides call it an ‘‘all-day party palace’’ but on the mid­week night of my visit, busi­ness is slow and my or­der for a Cam­pari on the rocks is slightly sniffed at — not groovy enough, per­haps.

The own­ers have gath­ered vin­tage fur­ni­ture and sal­vaged ar­chi­tec­tural fit­tings from across In­done­sia, in­clud­ing the hundreds ( per­haps thou­sands) of mis­matched wooden shut­ters that coat the venue’s ex­tra­or­di­nary snail-like fa­cade.

The fit- out is lit­tle short of sen­sa­tional, from ex­trav­a­gant light­ing to retro bar-stools. In true beach-club style, there’s a shapely in­fin­ity- edge pool, choice of ter­rific eat­ing venues, and tons of loung­ing space. More: ptthead.com. Naughty Nuri’s, Canggu: Here­with a cheeky ad­di­tion to the list, but one that is most en­ter­tain­ing.

The orig­i­nal Nuri’s is in the hill­sta­tion of Ubud, there’s even a branch in Jakarta, but this coastal off­shoot on Jalan Batube­lig opened last year. It’s ba­si­cally just an open-fronted warung (a ‘‘food stall or hole-in-the-wall joint’’ say Nuri’s own­ers) and, in this case, with mem­o­rable drinks at­tached.

The ‘‘naughty’’ tag ap­plies to the ‘ ‘ ab­so­lutely bru­tal’’ mar­ti­nis, shaken at your ta­ble,

The long, lean warung, with a gar­den court­yard at the rear, is penny-plain, with old, bare ta­bles, benches and rat­tan chairs; pic­tures of fa­mous mar­tini hands, from Ernest Hem­ing­way to Win­ston Churchill, hang on the walls as rather odd gypsy mu­sic belts out.

Laze back amid the smoke from pave­ment bra­ziers and tuck into the house spe­cialty of ‘‘un­be­liev­ably wicked pork ribs’’ and char­coal- grilled ‘ ‘ corn porn’’ served sug­ges­tively up­right in a glass. Open for lunch and din­ner seven days, but if you are up for one of those mar­ti­nis, an evening visit is rec­om­mended. More: naughtynuris­bali.com. In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Bali Re­sort, Jim­baran: The Sun­set Bar at this big and beau­ti­fully land­scaped re­sort, right on Jim­baran Bay, has been ‘‘re­vamped, re­freshed and re­launched’’. It’s well named, with per­fect west-fac­ing views, and there’s a friendly, feet-in-the­sand vibe.

The bar sits beach­side within a con­tem­po­rary open-plan Ba­li­nese pav­il­ion with thatched roof, set be­tween old trees hung with pretty lanterns. Perch on a rat­tan­cov­ered bar-stool and or­der gid­dy­coloured cock­tails or frozen mar­gar­i­tas and bar food such as wedges, sand­wiches and seafood skew­ers. ‘‘No dress code — ever!’’ is the Sun­set Bar’s fur­ther lure for thirsty beach bums. More: bali.in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal.com. The also- drink list: Co­coon Beach Club at Seminyak (‘‘VIP pool­side ca­banas’’, mar­gar­i­tas and a Mi­ami vibe) and Nam­mos Beach Club at the Karma Kan­dara re­sort, Uluwatu (reached by in­cli­na­tor down a soar­ing cliff; al­most like a Greek is­land trans­plant, set on a se­cluded cove, with a bam­boo walled pav­il­ion, great seafood and icy drinks). More: co­coon-beach.com; kar­makan­dara.com.

Rock Bar, at the five-star clifftop Ayana re­sort in Jim­baran, is ex­tremely pop­u­lar, but vis­i­tors can avoid queues by ar­riv­ing be­fore sun­set and leav­ing early

The Sun­set Bar at In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Bali on Jim­baran Bay

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